Italian Nationalist Leader Pledges “New Europe” After Wave of Populist Victories

Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini delivers a press conference holding a rosary after the announcement of initial results during the election-night event for European parliamentary elections on May 26, 2019, in the Lega headquarters in northern Milan. – Matteo Salvini’s anti-migrant League party won the most votes in Sunday’s European elections in Italy with 27-31 percent, marking a historic success for the far-right, exit polls showed. (Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP) (Photo credit should read MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)

Matteo Salvini, Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the nationalist ‘Lega’ Party, struck a triumphant tone on Sunday after a wave of populist and right-wing victories across Europe in European Parliament elections.

Salvini’s party came in first place in Italy, securing around 34% of the vote and far outpacing traditional center-right parties and its left-populist governing partner. Right-wing populist and euroskeptic parties also won big in major EU member states such as France, where Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party triumphed over incumbent French President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist party.

The UK’s Brexit Party, which participated in the EU election on account of Britain’s ongoing membership in the globalist political union despite a 2016 national referendum in which the British public voted to leave the group, won big, representing a renewed call for the nation to exit the EU after Tory Prime Minister Theresa May’s embarrassing failure to deliver on Brexit.

Salvini has shown himself as one of the boldest among a new generation of nationalists, willing to directly challenge the neoliberal hegemony of multinational corporations, big banks and corrupt oligarchs that have dominated moribund institutions such as the European Parliament for decade.

Salvini was followed in his celebration of Sunday’s populist victories by Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban. Orban’s Fidesz Party won in Hungary with a whopping 52% majority, and the nationalist leader pledged to work with any political party with a presence in the European Union that would fight to stop mass immigration.

Nationalist leaders such as Salvini and Orban differ from Euroskeptic movements in nations such as Britain in seeking to reform the EU as a voluntary union of peoples and nations respecting and promoting national sovereignty. With the populist presence in the European Parliament greater than ever before, they could be a step closer to realizing their vision of radical change for the antiquated bureaucracy.

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